N95 Masks for Maximum Protection
N95 Masks for Maximum Protection
When dealing with a respiratory virus like COVID-19, hospitals rely on PPE such as N95 masks and gowns to keep staff members safe. Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, there were critical shortages of this essential gear. In hard-hit places like New York and California, doctors and nurses were crafting PPE out of supplies they had on hand. Even after several months, there are still concerns about shortages with each new wave of the virus.
Breaks in the N95 Mask Supply Chain
A NIOSH N95 mask is an essential piece of protection for medical workers. The N95 gets its name from its ability to filter 95% of airborne particles. When properly fitted, air passes through a filtration material that protects the wearer from exposure.
In the United States, the mask shortage began for several reasons. The 2009 swine flu epidemic depleted the national PPE stockpile. To cut costs, medical centers tend to order supplies as needed rather than holding onto a surplus. These trends meant that hospitals entered the first COVID-19 surge without sufficient PPE resources.
At the same time, manufacturers were not ramping up production, and the federal government did not engage the Defense Production Act for masks. Mask production increased. However, it was not enough to create a comfortable surplus.
Surgical vs. non-Surgical Masks
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was public confusion about masks. Another factor in the NIOSH N95 mask shortage was people outside the medical field purchasing masks for personal use. While the CDC was recommending cloth face coverings, ordinary citizens were donning surgical-grade masks.
The FDA gives a surgical rating to facemasks. Manufacturers design these masks so that they resist fluid splatters during procedures. However, most surgical masks are not respirators. The disposable masks worn by most hospital staff members will allow airborne viruses to travel through gaps at the edges.
When caring for COVID-19 patients, a surgical N95 mask like the Makrite 910-N95FMX offers extra protection. It has both the NIOSH rating as a respirator and the FDA surgical rating. This type of face covering allows medical personnel to treat COVID-19 positive patients with greater confidence.
Choosing the Right N95 Mask
The type of fit is an important difference between a Makrite N95 mask and a standard surgical face covering. A standard, three-ply medical mask protects staff members from bodily fluids, and it protects patients by blocking many of the airborne droplets from the staff. N95 masks create an airtight seal that forces inhaled and exhaled air through a filter. It requires a tight fit to do its job properly.
Medical staff members may need to try several models before they find the perfect fit. The Makrite model 9500-N95 has a traditional shape in two sizes. It comfortably covers the mouth and nose of most people. However, the innovative shape of the Makrite 910-N95FMX may provide a better custom fit for some staff members.
The Future of N95 Masks
The global supply of N95 masks continues to be a concern. As the current pandemic winds down, governments would be wise to resupply their stockpiles of PPE. Hospitals may also want to consider increasing their on-hand supply of masks. When these institutions increase their demands, manufacturers will ramp up production to meet them.
The Importance of Working with an Authorized Distributor
The sudden demand for PPE has led some distributors to seek supplies from foreign manufacturers who may not participate in a rigorous approval and quality-testing process. At SPH Medical, we think that our essential workers are too important to take this chance. We work directly with Makrite, a manufacturing company with 30 years of experience in the field. When a nurse or doctor at your facility wears a model 9500-N95 or another Makrite M95 mask, you can have confidence knowing that they are working with a high-quality product.
If you have questions about your Makrite N95 mask needs, contact SPH Medical today.